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quitting smoking without gaining weight


Have you decided to quit smoking? Cheer ! But suddenly, you ask yourself a lot of questions about the right method to achieve this… without gaining weight?! Do not panic, it is possible, and we tell you how.

Article from Oneshot Magazine 11, by Sandra Bismuth.

Why do you gain weight when you quit smoking?

Stopping smoking often rhymes with moderate weight gain, generally between 2 kg and 5 kg… How to explain it?

If several reasons justify the arrival of these new kilos, it is necessary first of all to take into consideration the essential role of the nicotine contained in the tobacco. The latter indeed increases our energy expenditure by 6% at rest and by 12% during exercise. In other words, for the same level of activity, a smoker burns more calories than a non-smoker. According to dietician Virginie Bales, “Weight gain is linked to the body’s reaction to the absence of nicotine. The latter has the power to accelerate the metabolism and increase daily energy expenditure. A person who smokes about twenty cigarettes a day burns about 200 kcal more than a non-smoker. So, if we continue to eat the same way as when we smoked, we will store 200 more calories each day and we will probably end up gaining weight. Not to mention what all smokers know: nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant. “Suddenly, adds Virginie Bales, when we should lower our daily intake by 200 calories by quitting smoking, we see our appetite become stronger.” Finally, quitting smoking undeniably creates a lack. The ex-smoker wonders, consciously or unconsciously, how to overcome this void, and especially what to replace his cigarette to regain this lost plenitude. For many smokers, cigarettes allow, among other things, to calm down, to channel themselves… During weaning, they generally find themselves quite alone in the face of their lack of nicotine and their growing stress… Quitting oneself is not a small business! It is therefore a question of replacing as soon as possible, and as best as possible, the void left by tobacco. For our dietician, “if we replace cigarettes with sport, it’s beneficial. If we only think of the children’s cake cupboard, it’s immediately less good…”.

E-cigarette and nicotine: The winning duo

However, quitting smoking does not necessarily mean gaining weight… as long as you opt for a nicotine substitute! An Italian study led by Christina Russo of Catalina University highlights the role of nicotine against weight gain linked to smoking cessation. After following people in withdrawal for a year, she found that those who adopted the electronic cigarette with an e-liquid containing nicotine did not have a significant change in weight, unlike people who quit smoking. without help and who have observed an average gain of 2.9 kg in 5 months. Interviewed for the program “La Vape et vous”, Dr. Jacques Pieri, with regard to his patients, underlines the importance of this information: “It is a very good thing that nicotine inhibits weight gain, especially when we think of all the smokers who do not stop smoking for fear of gaining weight…”. Dr. Pieri thus explains advising his smoking patients to wean themselves thanks to the vape; “quitting smoking is very difficult, so anything that can help people without harming their health is recommended.” The electronic cigarette is also a very good alternative for the dietician Virginie Bales, delighted to accompany ex-smokers in their weaning without gaining weight. If she is also delighted to see them taking pleasure in the vape, she recalls that “a smoker likes to smoke: the quest for a vaper and an aroma of e-liquid to his taste is essential so that he is fully satisfied and that he does not seek pleasure elsewhere, in food for example”.

Reactivate your metabolism!

As you will have understood, the first objective of switching to vaping is to calmly quit smoking, without frustration or weight gain. When this is done, it will be up to you to reduce the nicotine level of your e-cigarette at your own pace. Guarantor of a more serene withdrawal, nicotine is certainly an addictive substance, but in no way bad for your health. By lowering it, however, you may feel your metabolism slow down slightly. Take this as an opportunity to focus on your health: Quitting smoking signals a return to a healthy lifestyle, sport and diet at the top of the list!

sports weight loss

sports weight loss


To lose weight, bstop !

Practicing a physical activity allows you to keep in shape but also to fight stress. If you are barely getting back in the saddle, start by increasing your efforts during the day by walking more, taking the stairs… The ideal: at least thirty minutes of brisk walking a day, which you can split into two periods of fifteen minutes or three periods of ten minutes depending on your abilities and your schedule. And even better, play sports: You start a new life without tobacco, you find your breath, enjoy! Dancing, swimming, cycling, running… Whichever activity you choose, it will allow you to increase your muscle mass as well as your energy expenditure at rest. And keep in mind that regularity counts more than intensity; it is therefore better to choose an activity that you can sustain over time with one watchword: have fun!

Eat… well and slowly

We imagine you from here: Fearing weight gain despite the good advice of our dietician and your new equipment for the perfect vaper, you end up convincing yourself that a good diet would not hurt you. Stop! Quitting smoking is already a source of stress, so there is no need to add to it by imposing too strict a framework. Especially since your body, quickly lacking in essential nutrients, will soon call you to order by activating storage mode. Result: You will not lose a gram, you will feel frustrated, even depressed and it won’t take long, after weeks of starving yourself, to throw yourself on the first packet of chips on the horizon…

Eating well also means knowing the difference between “hunger” and “desire to eat”. Sometimes linked to too many emotions, recurring cravings are responsible for weight gain. Likewise, satiation can be complicated to identify. Tell yourself that when you no longer take pleasure in eating, you are full and it is time to stop. It takes about twenty minutes for the brain to “integrate” that there has been food intake and to secrete the satiety hormone. It is therefore better to eat a balanced plate slowly than to devour a fast food in three bites.

Did you know that quitting smoking makes it easier to change your diet? By rediscovering, when quitting smoking, the taste and smell lost for years, the ex-smoker has less need to eat fatty and sweet foods to feel the taste of food. He can thus again appreciate dishes that seemed tasteless when he smoked.

Similarly, those who find it difficult to hold out until lunch or dinner can split their meals: Instead of the three classic meals, nothing prevents you from dividing breakfast in two, history keep a mid-morning snack. And, rather than having the dessert immediately after lunch, shift it to the snack… This way you do not disturb your food balance or your daily energy intake while avoiding cravings and other compulsive snacking.

Obviously, if you feel lost, taking stock with a professional can be beneficial: Weight monitoring, analysis of eating habits and physical activities, and dietary advice are always part of weaning assistance consultations. And don’t forget that nicotine is your ally in this fight against cigarettes and pounds; simply adopt good eating habits… You will have everything to gain!

weight balanced diet

weight balanced diet


Take care of your intestinal flora

The lack of nicotine can also lead to changes in the intestinal flora which would promote the gain of superfluous kilos. To have a balanced flora rich in good bacteria, we think of probiotics: These bacteria, present naturally in the body, are essential for good immunity, digestion and the production of certain vitamins. They are found in all fermented foods, such as cheeses, yogurts, fermented vegetables such as cabbage, sourdough bread… And who says probiotics, says prebiotics: These allow the development of beneficial bacteria in our intestine. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains (such as wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal flour, etc.), pulses (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, etc.), oilseeds (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc.) and seeds ( chia, squash, flax, sesame…) are full of them, think about it!

And don’t overlook the simple little things…

Stay hydrated! It may seem obvious, but few people drink the recommended 1.5 to 2 liters per day. Similarly, if you feel hungry between meals, a large glass of water, herbal tea or homemade flavored water can fill the feeling of hunger for a while. Be careful, tea and coffee are diuretics and therefore do not hydrate. And finally, sleep! A lack of sleep disrupts the proper functioning of hormones and disrupts hunger and satiety. This is a good reason to go to bed earlier at night and turn off your cell phone thirty minutes beforehand!

Thanks to the nicotine contained in its e-liquid, the electronic cigarette is the key to a smooth transition to a life without tobacco. No frustration, no lack or weight gain… We don’t know better than vaping for a fulfilling weaning!


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The article is in French

Tags: quitting smoking gaining weight

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